Sending a message of radical humility Latin America’s first pope, Francis I has begun his reign at the Vatican.
The 76-year-old is regarded as a conservative, but is also seen as a potential force for reform.
Yesterday, wearing simple black shoes and an ordinary wrist watch to his first Mass as pontiff, he issued a warning to cardinals in the Sistine chapel.
“We can walk all we want, we can build many things, but if we don’t proclaim Jesus Christ, something is wrong. We would become a compassionate NGO and not a Church which is the bride of Christ,” he said, speaking in Italian. That was in contrast to his predecessor, Pope Benedict, who used Latin on such formal occasions.
Today Pope Francis is meeting all the cardinals, including those aged over 80 who did not take part in the conclave.
Having on day one rejected some of the trimmings of office, he has instructed them to wear plain black cassocks and not the red with white lace surplices.